Former Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson has died at age 70 after suffering a stroke in February.
Wilson was a Democrat served two terms in Congress representing eastern Ohio. He was remembered for his work both within Ohio and in Washington securing federal funding for police departments, airport improvement, and a host of economic development projects.
Wilson won his seat in Congress in 2006 thanks to a write-in campaign, filling the seat vacated by Ted Strickland when he became governor. He had originally failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the state’s primary, but his write-in campaign in the Ohio district drew strong support.
After announcing Charlie Wilson’s death, his family remembered him as a faithful public servant.
“Throughout his extraordinary life, Congressman Wilson was motivated by a desire to serve his country and a passion for the causes most important to the constituents of Southeast and East Ohio,” his family said in a statement. “Congressman Wilson served with honor, dignity and an unwavering sense of civic responsibility to the families of our region. Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach, and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations.”
After serving two terms in Congress, Wilson would go on to lose elections in 2010 and 2012.
Aside from his work in Washington, Charlie Wilson also served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1997 to 2005.
“I served with Charlie in the State Legislature for six years and he was a loyal friend in good times and bad,” Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement. “An outspoken advocate for working people, Charlie never wavered in his service to his constituents or his lifelong pursuit to help improve the lives of others.”
As Charlie Wilson died, even his political opponents commended him and his work.
“Although Charlie and I were political opponents, we were never enemies. He served with honor in the Ohio state legislature and in Congress,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, who defeated Wilson in 2012.
Before entering politics, the Dillonvale native was a small business owner.
Charlie Wilson had suffered a stroke in February and was in a rehabilitation facility. He became ill on Saturday night and was taken to a hospital. He died there Sunday afternoon with his family with him.